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Hibiscus Coast on the big screen

Hibiscus Coast on the big screen

Touchdown Productions, the Auckland-based television and film company, has optioned the film rights to HIBISCUS COAST, a novel by New Zealand writer Paula Morris.

Published by Penguin Books (NZ), HIBISCUS COAST is a literary thriller set in downtown Auckland and Shanghai's French Concession. The novel tells the story of a bold scheme to steal Goldie paintings from the Auckland Museum and replace them with expert forgeries. An atmospheric, fast-paced novel with a multicultural cast of characters, HIBISCUS COAST was recently reprinted, just a month after publication.

The author, Paula Morris, is one of New Zealand's most promising younger writers. Her previous novel, Queen of Beauty, won the Best First Book award at the 2003 Montana Book Awards. Morris, who grew up in West Auckland, is currently based in New Orleans - a city she was forced to flee after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. She says "Much of the inspiration for the novel came from the incredible sights and sounds of two vibrant cities, Auckland and Shanghai. I'm very excited at the thought of seeing my home town and many of its most familiar landmarks, like the Museum and Princes Wharf, on screen. And I'm delighted that the film version is in such good hands."

'We feel very privileged to have the opportunity to adapt Paula's novel,' says Robin Scholes, Touchdown's Head of Film Development. 'I read a lot of New Zealand novels, because I'm always looking for stories and characters that can be adapted into films. HIBISCUS COAST appealed to me immediately. Paula has a talent for creating very memorable characters, and for conjuring strong visual images for the reader. There's an underlying intelligence to her work, too. HIBISCUS COAST is a thriller, but it's also about individuals, from a mixed cultural background, finding their own truth.'

Penguin Books publishing director Geoff Walker says: 'It is very unusual to option the film rights to a novel in this way, only weeks after publication. It confirms Paula Morris's enormous writing promise. We believe that in the years to come she will be regarded as one of our very finest writers.'

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